Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Back to the Grind: Part Two

So Little Marton Mill, all matters considered, was a Tudor brick-built tower mill. It would have looked somewhat different back in those days, however. Tudor tower mills didn’t have the distinctive pepper pot shape we’d recognise now. They were much more straight up and down; a sort of late mediaeval Ally McBeal as opposed to the Victorian Charlotte Church.
However, that wasn’t the first windmill ever on the site. Take a look at this:

Around the base of Little Marton Windmill, as you can probably see from the massive and intrusive arrow on the photograph above, is an earth mound. Well…part of an earth mound. What’s left of an earth mound, shall we say?
This is typical of early peg mills. It’s where all the machinery would originally have been housed when the mill was a wooden revolving structure with a long wooden pole on wheels attached to it. Presumably they just left the mound where it was when the mill was rebuilt in the sixteenth century.
Enough about Little Marton Mill.
After Michelle had finished measuring and probing and tapping and ‘Umming’ and ‘Arhing’ and what have you, we went for a brew round the corner at Bruce and Ann’s. Now Bruce, Ann and Shirley are in the middle of a daring rescue mission. All right…perhaps it’s not massively daring, not as far as leaping off cliffs and swimming shark infested lakes goes anyway. But it’s still a rescue mission.
Take a gander at this:

That’s the Samuel Fletcher that is, on the beach in front of Blackpool Tower in 1906. Phil scanned that in from Allen Clarke’s ‘History of the Blackpool Lifeboats’ book. Allen Clarke was Shirley’s granddad. Or have we already mentioned that somewhere?
Anyway, for many years now the Samuel Fletcher (Blackpool’s first ever lifeboat and the only one left in Britain today that was oar propelled, so it’s quite historic) has been laid up at Stanley Park, minding its own business and gathering dust. Until recently, that is, when somebody somewhere (we won’t mention names if we’re going to be charitable) decided it ought to be scrapped.
As any right-minded local historian will tell you, that’s a crime against humanity is that! So up stepped our heroes in an attempt to rescue it. Unfortunately they haven’t got anywhere to put it now that they’ve committed themselves to the task. (The usual appeal for help, understandably, goes out at this point. If you can think of anywhere large enough to take a forty foot lifeboat and half a dozen workmen please get in touch by the usual channels.)
Here’s the sign that used to accompany the Samuel Fletcher during its tenancy in the boathouses at Stanley Park, now doing sentry duty on Ann and Bruce’s patio:

There’s plenty of history concerning the Samuel Fletcher on that board, if it’s history you’re after. Try squinting a bit and you should just about be able to read it.
Anyhow, we spent an enjoyable afternoon drinking coffee and eating biscuits at Ann and Bruce’s, whilst an eclectic range of conversations took place concerning shipwrights and fingerless gloves and the tips of people’s noses and other entertaining stuff, during which I finished off my scotch pie and Bruce told a couple of dirty jokes which I’m not going to repeat here.
On our way back to Fleetwood we stopped off, by Shirley’s request, at the old miller’s cottage at the end of its secluded lane opposite Little Marton Mill. Sadly the cottage is now in a right old state as the photograph below no doubt demonstrates:

It hasn’t got long for this world, to be honest, the poor owd thing. All right, it might only have been Victorian, but it would have looked better than whatever ugly modern monstrosity they’re going to put in its place as soon as it’s gone.
One last photograph before I drag this article screaming and kicking to a close, this time taken by Michelle of me and Phil towards the end of our urban exploration:


John said...

Pepper pot shapes? Not too loud, or they'll be nicking this idea fo rthe next Doctor Who... giant Daleks disguised as old Windmills!

Actually, that's not too bad an idea, is it?

As for where you can stick the lifeboat? Hee hee, giggle, snort.

JOHN :0)

wv = innit !good one!

Rattus said...

would fleetwood museum not be interested in the lifeboat?

Brian Hughes said...


Did you know that the Daleks were originally based on Whirling Devishes? Whirling Dervishes that looked like pepper pots, apparently.

Our Kid,

Not sure if Fleetwood Museum has got the room, but it has to be on the list of places to try...working on the assumption that Shirley hasn't approached them already, of course.

RVB said...

Surely the boat wouldn't cost too much to store somewhere safe?

Incidentally, your hair is shorter. Just thought you ought to know...

Brian Hughes said...


However much it'd cost would probably be too much in these times of recession. And I'd noticed my hair was shorter recently. It got into a fight with a pair of scissors a few weeks ago, and lost.

bignick47 said...

Sorry all - I thought I was looking at a pic of David Essex on the run in Norfolk!!!

I used to play behind that old house in days of yore - Graham's House it was called then. Shame some plank burnt it down.

Brian Hughes said...


I'm sure Phil will be very pleased you mistook him for David Essex.

"Shame some plank burnt it down."

Yes...I'm not sure what happened there but the place seemed to have been completely barbequed. looked like a nice old cottage.

Jayne said...

Crikey, storing that boat is going to be a doozy, what was the idiotic reasoning behind scrapping it or was none given?

It is a shame about that cottage, can't fathom wanton destruction.

Brian Hughes said...


As far as I can work out, the main reason for scrapping the Samuel Fletcher was because the owners, to coin a technical phrase, 'just couldn't be *rsed any more.'

Jayne said...

I suppose now is not the time to mention the various people and businesses (in rural Oz) that have admitted to taking an axe to large rare,antique pieces of heritage furniture and turning them into kindling?

Brian Hughes said...

Sounds good to me. Destroying old furniture just means that, given a few years, all my old tat might actually accrue in value...although that's not very likely.

Jayne said...

Something archaeological involving what ales you.

Brian Hughes said...

Any excuse for a booze up.

Ann oDyne said...

All woads lead to Wyre ...

so there I was, re-reading
Jim Lees-Milne's 1942 diaries, and he goes to Dowles Manor, which I have to Guugle-image because he says it's so Marple, and that brought me to Wyre Forest.

shirley said...

Hi nice to see you went to look at the miller's house which was fire damaged, due to an electrical fault. Funny they are leaving it to crumble?
I have forwarded a pic of what it was like in its hey day to Brian and look at the amazing super sized Little Marton Mill's cap (hat!!) Brian I believe you had a visit from one of our esteemed committee members our Sec Beryl and you were going to ask Farmer Parr (does he exist must have a visit some time. Have visions of portly man in high drover's boots, leggings, check shirt, red cheeks, tatty hat with straw dangling from his mouth) Chasing a pig with a stick!!
Regards your latest photo yes you have a look of David Essex (been air brushing have we) and a side on pose.
Michelle's gloves are now taking over the Fylde as us who watch the pennies wear them in the house excellent for typing in, on a cold morning. Shirl in a whirl..

Brian Hughes said...


Different Wyre. That Wyre's in Worcestershire. I know this because, by an odd coincidence, me and Michelle used to live there as well...although we don't like to admit it in public.


Yes, Farmer Parr does exist and your fancied description of him isn't far removed at all. And yes, we did meet Beryl. (I was wondering who the lady in the corner of the cafe reading the newspaper throughout the meeting was, until she stood up and introduced herself at the end.) As for airbrushing that photograph, no amount of paint (virtual or otherwise) could sort out my face. I'd just have to wear the paint pot over my head instead. Cheers for the photographs.

Ann oDyne said...

re the burned cottage: I hate it when good old stuff is left to ruin.
re the windmill and the hair: I'm surprised nobody suggested it was Jonathan Creek, or that the mound was CarolynQuentin.
re oared lifeboats: plenty of them at Sydney beaches, just guugle 'Bondi'.

ask the library if there's room in their cellar for restoration of Queen Victoria's gift.

Brian Hughes said...


Curly hair is the butt of all bad comparisons. In my time I've been compared to such diverse characters as Lofty out of Eastenders and Gene Wilder. People see the curls and automatically associate me with whoever's big and curly at the moment.

Unfortunately there never seem to be any curly haired sex symbols in the limelight...although there might be a good reason for this.